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Wheelchair Accessibility in London: Present And Future

October 14, 2014

This is a guest post by Pano Savvidis. Thanks to Pano.

Although London is special for all manner of reasons, one of the most important ones is that it is one of the most widely accepting and forward thinking places on the planet. Although this might not mean much to many people in practical terms, for people in wheelchairs, it is a practical matter that holds a great significance.

So what’s it like trying to get from point A to point B in London on a wheelchair accessibility front? In this article, we’re going to look at the huge progress London is making in terms of wheelchair accessibility, and look at how future emerging technologies – some of which that are launched, nearly ready to launch or far off in the distant future – are making getting around in a wheelchair easier than you’d expect in England’s Capital.

The Forward Thinking Nature of London

Although it’s not quit there yet, London is on the verge of becoming a megacity. With 8 million residents, the city is by far and away the largest in the UK, and with more and more people moving there each year to get a slice of the action, it’s clear that the current levels of growth are only the start of things to come.

But what is life like for those with extra accessibility requirements in this large city? At the moment, London is one of the UK’s most accessibility friendly places to live, but it could be doing a lot more to make people feel welcome. For example, not all tube stations have step-free access, and this makes getting around on the underground a hassle for those in wheelchairs who desire to use the service.

Along similar lines (but not travel-related), housing in the capital – as we all know – is difficult at the moment. Prices for lets are high even for able-bodied people, but when you add on to the regular average letting price the prices for so-called accessible housing in the capital, the price becomes a huge barrier.

All in all though London does more than most other cities to try to make the lives of wheelchair users as easy as they can with the limited financial resources the government has.

The Future of Accessibility in the Capital

Going forward, the London is going to up its game with respect to the ease of which a wheelchair user can move from point A to point B around the capital, and there are several projects in the works which will help it to do so.

First, transportation methods that are already well-established and popular in the capital – such as taxis – will all move towards accessibility-friendly taxi models from firms such as this one. The same goes for the tubes, too, and with more and more rail and tube stations being built across London and the wider southeast, step-free access and full accessibility should be the norm.

Looking further ahead into the future, driverless cars are almost ready to go, and the British government has already announced that they will be legal on the roads from January 2015. These will make getting across the capital even easier than it is now.

Ultimately, London is a forward thinking place that tries to cater to those with accessibility needs, but more needs to be do to achieve full equality and easy accessibility. Hopefully, some of the emerging technologies of the future should resolve this.

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